Johnson Controls Reduces 4 Hour Engineering Process To 20 Seconds
Prior to this automated workflow system, it would require JCI engineering to spend an average of 4 hours to process each custom ventilation damper order, that was subsequently reduced to 20 seconds and saved Johnson Controls thousands of engineering hours annually. This article explains the steps involved in automating the order entry to final product shipment workflow process and was accomplished with a series of steps that included:
- Engineering & Manufacturing Workflow Assessment
- Strategic Automation Planning
- Establish Engineering & Manufacturing Data Warehouse
- Incorporate Automated Workflow
- Shop Floor Integration / Prodution Dashboard
1) Engineering & Manufacturing Workflow Assessment
This included the mapping of the existing steps within the quoting, order entry, engineering, and manufacturing workflow process. This also included the interviewing of key personnel within each workflow area to understand their perspective on challenges and get their suggestions on how workflow tasks could be improved. The Engineering & Manufacturing Workflow Assessment included the following:
- Software & Hardware Technologies Utilized
- Customer Web Portal (Quoting / Order Entry)
- Legacy Systems
- ERP / Business System
- MES / Scheduling System
- Shop Floor Machine Tools
- Documentation of Existing Workflows
- Current State Workflow Summary
2) Strategic automation planning
During development of the Strategic Automation Plan, the following objectives were met and documented:
- Defined “Future State” Workflows
- Determined Required Modifications to Existing Software
- Determined Off-the-Shelf Software Requirements
- Determined Custom Programming Requirements
- Determined Project Cost Estimates / Timeline
The Johnson Controls (JCI) strategic planning process in conjunction with LDC included discussions with key personnel from the shop floor to the plant manager to determine how current processes worked and what improvements would help strengthen and improve existing workflow processes and add new capabilities. Valuable input was received at every level.
LDC’s expert manufacturing consultants used the information gathered to construct the Strategic Automation Plan that addressed the cycle times and labor-intensive bottlenecks that were slowing down the existing workflow. This was followed by devising a practical solution that added significant flexibility and new capabilities while significantly reducing costs and the time from order entry to final product shipment.
The finished Strategic Automation Plan provided a step-by-step plan used for successful development and implementation of an automated workflow system that automated order entry, configuration, and manufacturing execution of custom ventilation dampers.
3) Establish Engineering & Manufacturing Data Warehouse
The Engineering & Manufacturing Data Warehouse, implemented by JCI, was developed by Logic Design Corporation, and provides a digital framework that serves as a centralized data warehouse that integrates various software and hardware technologies.
Also included and implemented was innovative software technology (Global Edge ERP Interface) to provide two-way ERP integration with CAD (Computer Aided Design), CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing), and MES (Manufacturing Execution System) software.
The Engineering & Manufacturing Data Warehouse coupled with the Global Edge ERP Interface provided JCI with an easy to configure system to exchange the following information throughout the enterprise:
- Sales Quotes / Orders
- Job / Production Orders
- Part Numbers
- CAD Part Parameters
- Bill of Materials / Routings
- Time & Material Cost Rollups
- Shop Floor Production Data
This information helps facilitate a fully automated workflow system that automatically processes custom ventilation damper orders from the JCI order entry web portal through engineering, ERP, and the shop floor without human intervention.
4) Incorporated Automated Workflow
This software technology developed by LDC referred to as the “Global Edge Configuration Engine” provides JCI with the following capabilities:
- Automated Product Configuration
- Automated Smart Part Numbering
- Automated BOM / Routing Generation
- Automated Time & Material Cost Rollups
Automated Product ConfigurationA key challenge that faced JCI was the manual configuration and processing of custom ventilation damper orders. Each time a custom damper order was entered in the Customer Web Portal, an engineer would have to manually process the order by configuring the bill of materials from the top level to the individual components. This included part numbering, adding, or deleting components from a template bill of materials, resizing components, generating routings, and manually typing data into the ERP system. The process time was usually a minimum of four hours, dependent on when an engineer was available to process the order.
The Global Edge Configuration Engine provides JCI with an automated workflow solution that eliminates the manual configuration of ventilation dampers with 24/7 availability to automatically process incoming orders. The flexible and easy to setup architecture allows for straight forward modification of user definable configuration rules for simple to complex parts and assemblies when product options change.
Automated BOM / Routing GenerationThe automated workflow solution implemented by JCI provides the ability to automatically generate a complete engineering and manufacturing bill of materials including the generation of optimal routings based on CAD part and matching machine tool parameters. This includes automation of the scheduling process that is made possible with the complete bill of materials and routing information that is generated. This information can be directly incorporated into an automated job build process.
Automated Time & Material Cost RollupsIn conjunction with the Engineering & Manufacturing Data Warehouse which includes the direct integration with ERP, the Global Edge Configuration Engine automatically generates accurate time and material cost rollups based on the latest costs and accuracy of the generated bill of materials and routings.
5) Shop Floor Integration / Production Dashboard
- Real-Time Counts of Incoming Orders
- Status of Current Order Being Processed
- Display Count of Failed Orders
- Real-Time Count of Orders Sent to Shop Floor
- Count of Completed / Shipped Orders
Logic Design Corporation (LDC) has a 30-year history of helping small, medium, and large-scale manufacturing operations achieve an integrated Industry 4.0 factory environment resulting in saving thousands of engineering hours each year.